THE RESOLUTION REPORT ONLINE
May 2008 - Volume 23, Number 1
News on Dispute Resolution trends, laws and ethics
from the Director
I am pleased that the Resolution Report is back on-line and soon will be back in print. Due to the confluence of a variety of issues, you may have noticed that you have not received or seen a Resolution Report in many months. On the technical side, the court upgraded to a new operating system and the software we use to create the on-line version was not compatible. We also are striving to have all of our information posted in a way that is accessible to all, including those with visual impairments who use “machine readers.” In order to do so required additional training and re-formatting. In addition, this was the first newsletter for our newest DRC employee, Elizabeth (Beth) Roach, who had to learn the process under these trying conditions. Finally, due to the severe budget situation, we were required to publish fewer issues of the newsletter. Special thanks to Beth for persevering and bringing this issue of the Resolution Report On-line to completion.
The big news during this legislative session has been the budget. As I write this message, the budget is not yet passed. If the ADR programs survive, it will mean increases in all of the sources of revenue associated with the program, including filing fee additions, mediation service fee increases for those individuals who are eligible to use the subsidized court mediation programs, and also a modest increase to the fees that mediators pay for certification and renewal. You may be surprised to learn that the certification fees have not been raised since first implemented in 1990 (with the exception of county court which, in 2006, was raised from $15 to $40 for new certifications and renewals and waived for volunteer mediators). During this same period, 1990 to 2008, the Consumer Price Index (US Department of Labor) has increased 65.7%! As an additional point of comparison, The Florida Bar dues have risen 39.5% since 1990 and currently are $265 annually. Watch the Resolution Report for more information on this.
I would also like to take this opportunity to request your review and comments on the several rules projects currently underway by the Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy:
The appellate mediation rules and qualifications are the result of several years of work of the Appellate Subcommittee of the ADR Rules and Policy Committee. Special thanks to this subcommittee which is chaired by Judge William Palmer, 5th DCA. Also serving on the subcommittee are Chief Judge Matthew Stevenson, 4th DCA, (former subcommittee chair); Judge Burton Conner, Greg Firestone, Alan Kahn, Michael Orfinger, and Mel Rubin. In addition, the chief judges from the three district courts of appeal not already represented on the subcommittee were asked by the Supreme Court to appoint liaisons to the subcommittee. The following judges served in this capacity: Judge Ricky Polston, 1st DCA; Judge Darryl C. Casanueva, 2nd DCA; and Judge Gerald B. Cope, Jr., 3rd DCA. In addition to being published here, the draft will be provided to all appellate judges and The Florida Bar Appellate Rules Committee for comment prior to submission to the Supreme Court.
The other two rule proposals listed above are in the formative stages and comments are requested. Please send your comments to DRCmail@flcourts.org or you can send them via fax to 850/922-9290.
Finally, the Dispute Resolution Center annual conference is planned for August 28 – 30, 2008, Labor Day weekend. Watch for the brochure which should be delivered via regular mail in June. I hope to see you there! Sharon